Two gentlemen fishing at the day use launch area, where I would return to if a Friday night camper was still on site. I arrived at the parking area, no car. Loaded up the kayak with tent, sleeping bag, pad, ect., and walked down the path to the camp site. Only to have the left wheel of the cart fall off. Cotter pin fell out. I could not find it. And I did not have a spare. I had three spares at one time. Time to go back to the hardware store. I put the wheel back on, and very carefully pulled the loaded kayak to the campsite. The wheel stayed on. Set up the tent, and was on Blackwater Creek at 8:15, headed down Creek.
Blackwater is more like Clearwater Creek, with low water levels. And to think two years ago I had a reservation for Moccasin Springs but did not use it as the campsite was flooded. The section of Creek from campsite to day use launch is getting overgrown with water plants. It would not surprise me if, when summer rains and growth arrive, it becomes impassable. There also are areas downstream of the bridge that are thickly covered, especially in the wide area with the high bank on the left. But there are clear paths to paddle through.
Just downstream of the wide area, three fallen trees block the Creek.
No way to get around. I put the paddle in the water on both sides of the yak. About knee deep. I took my left leg out of the kayak, and went down to my waist. I must have hit a tree when I tested the depth. So, I’m doing a split, one leg in, one out. Or was it the yakey pokey? I managed to get the right leg out of the kayak without spilling it, or me. Waded to the knee deep water, pushed the yak over the barrier, climbed over the logs, got back in, and continued the paddle.
I saw something I usually don't see on Blackwater Creek. People. A couple, he in canoe, she in kayak. Not far from the confluence with the Wekiva River.
I got to the confluence at 10:30, and headed down River. There's a small island, just down River. I went on the left side, because an alligator is often there. Got the day's first gator pic.
A crowded day on Blackwater Creek. Two kayakers coming downstream. That made 4 for the day. I asked where they launched. Katies Landing. The gentleman said he saw ?? I did not catch what, "back in the woods". If deer or bear, I did not see any.
Kayaker's best friend.
The dragonfly, not the alligator. The former eat mosquitoes. The latter eat people. As do mosquitoes.
Back to my campsite, 4:05, nearly 8 hours after I left.
Got some more stuff from the car, looking for the lost cotter pin as I walked up and down the trail. Remember, my kayak cart wheel fell off.
View from the picnic table as I snacked before a bike ride.
As I pedaled down Grade Road, I saw a distant shape. Turned out to be a photographer. I stopped, asked if he had seen anything interesting. He asked. "Are you Dave?" I admitted I was. The photographer's name is Don. Here is his site Nice guy, said he often sees bobcats and coyotes ion Grade Road. I've yet to see either in the Forest, its nice to know where to look. I wonder if the cattle pasture next door has anything to do with the predators presence.
The road was still good past this sign, so I told myself "vehicles means motorized" and kept riding.
I turned back here. A sign on the other side of the road for the reading impaired.
Made a short ride up a road between the No Vehicles and Beware of Dog signs.
Saw a deer bound through the trees.
The next animal I see from this blind will be the first.
I rode 10 and a quarter miles. Back to the campsite, got the cooking fire going. When the flames died down, I went for a sunset, animal walk. Found the cotter pin.
No animals seen. Heard, yes. Something large in the woods. At least is sounded large to me.
This is not the fire I left unattended. The campsite has a ground grill, and a stand up grill. The ground grill was not fired up until I got back. I let the cooking fire die down to much. So, I threw the chuck steak and corn on the ground grill.
The fire was not the only light. Dozens of fireflies flashed their light. Then, across the Creek, another light. What is that? Oh moon rise. I walked up the path to the open area where my car was parked to get a better view as it rose over the trees. So bright, I cast a shadow. I failed to bring the camera with me. Star gazed for a bit, then back to the campsite, firegazed and went to bed.